GMX ’10

I’m always delighted to go to a fledgling convention, because it’s in those early years that help and attendance is most needed. GMX doesn’t quite fit into that category though, partly because it’s created and run by veteran MTAC staff. More importantly though GMX looks like it’s already outgrowing any sense of a “fledgling” status, because, as I quickly discovered upon my entrance to GMX Vol. 2, attendance had already doubled! Before I go further into the overall successes and/or failures though of GMX, let me break down day by day what I saw and did.

Friday

GMX is a true 48 hour convention, which means Friday activities start late and Sunday activities run a little late as well. What this means is that, while some activities such as the game room(s) are open 24 hours, many of the Friday panels have to be squeezed into a narrow period. Last year I spent practically all of Friday talking with friends, so I figured I’d try to make Friday my ‘social’ time. Until the week before GMX that was my plan, but then Chris Sexxx (of The Man Power) informed me The 5,6,7,8s were going to play that same evening at a venue in Nashville. I decided then, after venturing around the con briefly and playing one game of Scrabble, to pretty much forgo GMX entirely for that evening. So I headed off with Chris to the concert. For more details about the concert you can see my review here.

Saturday

Following the concert I was quite tired; however, as exhausted as I was I got very little sleep unfortunately and started Saturday with a headache. So when my friends Jai and John pushed me to eat with them I did so a bit begrudgingly, but I was able to get some headache medicine, something to drink, and a little food for my stomach, so after the meal and a nap I was feeling much better.

Having fully recovered I set about trying to take advantage of the many Saturday activities/panels available. I began by attending a favorite panel of mine from last year “Name That Toon Tune”, hosted by Niko, a friend and MTAC/GMX staffer. Essentially what happens is Neko gathers a plethora of retro cartoon themes, and then the audience gets to guess what the song’s are after listening to a snippet of each one. Last year I knew hardly any, so this year I expected to know few as well. However, it turns out a new about five or so, but everytime I knew one I was trying to tweet about the panel and couldn’t put my hand up fast enough. Finally, as the prizes dwindled, I put my phone down just in time to recognize the theme song for the Godzilla cartoon. I raised my hand first, and by answering correctly won one of the few remaining comics Niko had as prizes. Much like last year I thoroughly enjoyed Niko’s musical journey into childhood memories.

During the panel I had received a message from BBAMAJAM club member Brian saying he was going to Magic. I didn’t realize this meant he was participating in the card game, so while I joined him briefly having no knowledge of the game I decided to return to the panel room where Niko then, with the help of Crow writer James O’Barr, hosted a panel on comic book film adaptations titled “Marvelous Marvels and “

This panel was based solely on discussion, since Niko’s clips weren’t working, and it took a noticeable time before the audience seemed to feel comfortable interacting. Once they did though the conversation got quite engaging, and while I, more than most in that room, perhaps have only seen the film adaptations without having read or even knowing the comic original I still had a great time enhancing my comic knowledge.

Following those two panels I did not have anything to pressing to attend for some time, so I went back and joined Brain for a bit at his Magic tournament. I remember struggling to understand Magic when I was younger, and it seems any knowledge gained in my youth had since disappeared. So I had to solely decide who was winning by emotions, and even then I still didn’t see Brian’s loss coming. Thankfully while he was knocked out after a few rounds in the tournament he at least won a few Magic card packs. Still having little to do Brian and I decided to each go our own way, so I returned to the room for a little bit before borrowing John’s video camera to shoot the Zombie walk.

Last year I decided against joining the Zombie walk because they were shuttling to the Opry Mills Mall, which admittedly is not far at all from the convention. This year due to the floods in early 2010 in Nashville the mall was closed, so I was hoping that the Zombies would instead walk around the perimeter of the convention. Thankfully they did just that and I was able to partake of all the gruesome Zombies as they organized, and then as they tramped around for a bit by the neighboring establishments. I didn’t follow them for too long though, but I made sure to get a vantage point by the con so I could see their travels. I was excited to see their first stop was at the next door Cracker Barrel, and since two of my roommates and friends are Cracker Barrel employees I took to Twitter to share the good times. The Zombies then proceeded on and I decided it was time to see what else was going on so I returned to GMX proper.

Upon my return I ran into Brian again, and he and a friend were standing off to one side of the atrium. In looking at the schedule we discovered “Race of the Tauntans – GMX Style” was about to start right where we were at, so we just hung around until the festivities began. We discovered quickly that the race is essentially a sock hop race, where, as one of the GMX girls demonstrated, the contestant must hop around the main atrium as fast as possible while still avoiding the ‘hazards’, which included hopping over ‘Jar Jar’, shooting ‘Greto’, and getting a picture with one of the VIPs, and finally making a slow-mo finish. While the GMX Girl actually used the ThinkGeek Tauntaun sleeping bag, the contestants, perhaps for legal reasons, simply had to recreate the Tauntaun hopping experience. Nonetheless seeing a variety of contestants trying this odd race out ending up being great entertainment, Tauntaun or not, and we had a lot of fun. My favorite component was the hosts themselves, as both were able to come up with some great witty comments on the fly as if I was watching a live MXC shooting. In the end, one of the staffers, a late entry, was able to take the lead and win in a photo finish. While Brian’s friend and I had been hoping he would participate, and he did not, we still had a great time. I shot tons of video of the event too, so if I ever get the chance to edit it all you’ll be able to find it on YouTube.

Coming up was the main event I wanted to see, “Horrible Turn” a Dr. Horrible fan film, but we still had an hour left so Jai, John, and I hit up the Applebee’s in the convention center to satiate our stomachs. Following that we had a few minutes to spare, so we got settled into our seats and awaiting the “Horrible Turn” screening. Much like the concert, I decided to write a separate entry in length about the viewing, which you can read here. Let me just say though in summary that “Horrible Turn” was excellent! If one were to make a fan film to make Whedon prowd, then one would need to emulate “Horrible Turn”, because everything just seemed to come together perfectly. If you’ve watched Dr. Horrible then do check out Horrible Turn at www.horribleturn.com

We then cut through the Clockwork Cotillion and headed to our room, while still talking about the delightfulness that was “Horrible Turn”. Then, perhaps because of the odd music from the Cotillion, or our relatively clear schedules for the evening, we hung out in the room watching funny viral videos, making up funny songs, while off and on mimicking Dr. Who’s greatest enemy the “Daleks”. I then found a Dr. Who app., that Nick had informed me about, developed by BBC for the iPhone. The app. is too much fun, and it really just added to the silliness of the evening.

Maybe it was too much Dalek speak, or hearing the Cotilliion music fade away, but whatever it was we decided it was time to explore GMX some more to see what evening activities were being held. We ran into Brian at the Atrium who, along with his Nashville friends, was cosplaying Pac Man characters. Brian was one of the ghosts. We talked with him for a bit, and then John and I headed off to the panel John was most looking forward to “Standing too close to the fire: Burn Notice”.

Thankfully due to John’s hyping of the show some time ago I finally got around to watching the first two seasons of Burn Notice, so I was quite prepared for most of the discussion that might occur. What we ended up getting though was as exciting if not more so, because the host of the panel happened to have a father who did cinematography for Burn Notice. Thanks to that accessibility he was able to visit the set, take pictures (of what was allowed), and share inside knowledge in particular about the set and some of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ behind Burn Notice. I would do a poor job of conveying all the details, so let me just recommend if you get the chance to see this panel please do. One highlight I can share is Boom Notice. Boom Notice is a parody of Burn Notice by the workers electricians, sound crew, and even some of the cast. If you know about film tech. this will he especially humorous; however, if you like Burn Notice in general then you’ll probably enjoy Boom Notice. Feel free to go here to this link to check it out.

After leaving we ran into Brian again, and together we decided to check out what was going on at the atrium. We ran into Geek Feud which, as you might expect, is indeed a geeky variation of Family Feud. So we stood by, watched the competition, took guesses at what ranked where, and generally just had a fun time. Overall while I wouldn’t be confident enough to play along, but I certainly hope they bring this event back again since it was so much fun to watch.

Right before I was going to head back to my room I ran into Chris Sexx who, slightly less than sober, informed me his panel The Top 10 Boondocks’ Moments was about to start and that I should go check it out. I decided to do just that and for the next hour myself, and several others, laughed at Boondocks, while discussing the show and the original comic. Cass, who is a friend I’ve made through numerous convention run-ins, gave an especially poignant talk about how the cartoon is much less powerful than the comic. Even so, Boondocks’ still retains some of its power, and again balances out with an abundance of humor. Time wound down and no host arrived for any further panels, so Chris kept going but for me it was time to bed so I retired to my room to rest up for the next day and the drive home.

Sunday

John had expressed a strong interest in leaving early, so I didn’t plan for too many events for Sunay. My hope was to maybe hit two panels, or just the Harry Potter High Tea Time if I was able. Turns out the Tea Time event started later than I thought though, so I joined John  for the “Ducks, Mice, and Monsters, Oh My! Disney Animated Afternoons” panel. I must’ve missed the blurb before, because going in I assumed it was about Disney films. Instead, I got to spend time with MomoCon staff members, as they reveled in the days of old when Tail Spin, Duck Tales, and Rescue Rangers ruled. While my memories have faded since those times, I still enjoyed the panel, and more then that I learned a bunch of information about the actors behind the characters. All in all this was yet another great panel.

After that panel John and I scoured around the Dealer’s Room one more time, and then looked around to see if we could find Brian and say bye before heading out. We had no luck though, so instead we headed home.

Pros & Cons

Pro

–          Casual, pleasant environment

–          Great panels

–          Exciting events

–          Well managed/Well run

Cons

–          Unsure of who the guests were

If you are into many fandoms especially Whedon, Sci-fi, and Fantasy, then GMX is a con you should check out.

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